German international Karl-Heinz Riedle played for Liverpool for two years in the late 90s but what has become of the striker since then? Riedle started off his professional career at FC Augsburg, after playing youth football for both TSV Ellhofen and SV Weiler, and he played for the German club for three years until his most prolific season to date in the 1985/86 campaign where he scored 22 goals and earned himself a call up to Germany’s Under 21 squad. Such impressive performances in the German lower league attracted the attention of bigger clubs and Riedle earned a move to newly promoted Bundesliga side Blau-Weiss Berlin.
The first season in the top flight however saw Riedle’s Blau-Weiss Berlin finish bottom of the table but Riedle was still impressive in a struggling team, scoring 10 league goals in his first year of top level football. His performances earned him a big move to Werder Bremen in the summer of 1987 and he scored an impressive 18 goals in 33 games to help Bremen to the Bundesliga title in his first season at the club. His displays for his club earned him a call up for his country too and he scored on his debut in a 4-0 win over Finland.
Riedle continued to play for West Germany and was part of the side that won the World Cup at Italia 90. His reputation began to rise and rise all over Europe, and after three seasons at Bremen he moved to Lazio in Italy for £5.5million, one of the world’s most expensive transfers at the time. He had a moderately successful spell during his time in Italy, scoring 30 goals in 84 appearances, but his highest achievement came at international level with Germany. He scored two goals in the Euro 92 semi-final against Sweden and helped Germany reach the final to play Denmark.
After three years in Italy, he returned to his native Germany with Borussia Dortmund. At Dortmund, he would have his most successful spell in club football, helping the German side to successive league titles in 1995 and 1996, and playing a crucial role in winning the Champions League in 1997. In what would be the highlight of his career, Riedle scored two critical goals in the final to help Dortmund to an unlikely 3-1 win over favourites Juventus.
In the summer of 1997, Liverpool fought off competition from other big European clubs to capture the signature of the German international. Liverpool manager Roy Evans bought the striker as a replacement for Aston Villa bound Stan Collymore, but despite the abundance of experience that Riedle possessed, winning the World Cup, Champions League and possessing over 40 caps for Germany, he could not keep a regular first team place. Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler were picked ahead of him, and despite scoring 15 goals in two seasons for the club, as well as signing a new 1 year contract extension until the year 2000, Riedle decided it was best to move on and went to ambitious Division One side Fulham in 1999. He played 34 times for the London club, scoring 6 goals, but he was now at the end of his career and he slowly wound down his appearances during his two year spell at the club. In fact, he was briefly caretaker manager of the club alongside Roy Evans after Paul Bracewell was sacked in March 2000. He managed the club until the end of the season, helping the club to 9th position.
The 2000/2001 campaign would be Riedle’s last in professional football and he scored his last goal against QPR in a 2-0 win during a Division One match. At the end of the season, he retired from the game, but it wasn’t an end to his involvement in football. Since his retirement, Riedle now owns a football academy in Oberstaufen called the “Kalle Riedle soccer academy” and also owns a four star sport fitness and wellness “evviva” hotel which is named after him in the town. Riedle was also the Managing Director and a board member of Grasshopper Zurich until 2007, before co-founding with Steffen Greiner a professional sportsman agency company called Trustar AG. He has certainly made a successful transformation from footballer to businessman.